New StanChart Marathon organiser tweaks 2016 edition
StanChart Marathon's new organiser tweaks this year's run, has major long-term goal
They aim to make the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) as iconic as the six Majors that feature annually around the world.
But, for the first run of its 10-year contract this December, new race organiser Ironman Asia has set a modest target - to raise the event's profile internationally and to improve the runners' experience.
"There is a lot of competition out there, and it's all about making sure that the athlete experience is the best it possibly can be," said Ironman Asia managing director Geoff Meyer, at the SCMS launch at The Cathay yesterday.
"If we get that right, then athletes are going to return. If your athlete experience is not great, people are going to vote with their feet and not continue to do the run."
They may just be two weeks into the job, but Meyer revealed that his team were already working on several elements of the race - scheduled on Dec 3 and 4 - like start times.
The organiser also provided key updates for this year's event.
The 800m Kids Dash will be held along Orchard Road on the evening of Dec 3, while the 10km, 21km, 42km and Ekiden runs will be flagged off on the morning of Dec 4.
While the half-marathon participants were flagged off in Sentosa in previous editions, the 21km runners will start their race with the full-marathon runners near Mandarin Gallery along Orchard Road this year.
The 21km and 42km routes are virtually the same this year, except that full-marathon runners will do a loop around East Coast Park.
Meyer said: "Sentosa was a fantastic start and a hard one to not go with, but the feedback and the surveys (cited the congestion) going into the tunnel, and the fumes from the vehicles as very big negatives.
"And then that big long highway stretch in the sun where there was absolutely no shelter, it was always going to be a very big negative.
"Realistically, we also thought that this was a better course as it would flow better and we can get a better running experience."
To alleviate the crowd at the start line for half and full marathons, organisers will despatch runners in waves, according to their estimated finishing time.
In the build up to December, Ironman Asia will tap on its global network, as well as parent company Dalian Wanda, to promote SCMS worldwide.
Private tutor Quek Ee Meng, who has taken part in the last 14 editions of the SCMS, hopes that the new organiser will alleviate the congestion issue that runners faced previously.
The 50-year-old said: "There is a portion of the route about 3km away from the finishing line that is usually quite congested because the 10km runners will converge with the 21km and 42km runners.
"Perhaps, it is possible to segregate the runners; in overseas races, they have different lanes for the runners - the 10km race would have wider lanes because they have more runners, while the other two categories have smaller lanes."
Meanwhile, Meyer revealed that Ironman Asia has almost cleared the debts of previous race organiser Spectrum Worldwide, which it acquired.
The Straits Times reported in May that Spectrum had owed several vendors six-figure sums.
Meyer said: "We acquired a very significant amount of debt, but that was part of an acquisition, and that's separate to the event (SCMS) budget.
"More than 80 per cent of our creditors have been paid, and the last ones are getting paid off as we speak."
*Registration for this year's race began yesterday morning on marathonsingapore.com, with prices ranging from $15 to $460.